Review by Falsiloquos

"A unique (if somewhat unpolished) RPG/Strategy game"

A unique (if somewhat unpolished) RPG/Strategy game

Shining Force II is one of those rare games that is completely and absolutely fun to play when you first get it. When I first started playing, I just couldn't put it down for a few days. I had to see what would happen next. And the battles were actually difficult, which gives me a great sense of accomplishment when I beat them. Yet there is one problem with this game, and that's that each battle is pretty much the same as the last, not enough variety, as it were.

We'll start, as always, with the plot. Shining Force II (SF2, not to be confused with Saga Frontier II) starts out when a thief steals some jewels that had kept an ancient evil locked away. Soon the evil overruns the island, and the entire kingdom has to relocate to the nearby continent. Once there they find new challenges, such as local resistence to them, and more monsters, and somehow must not only survive, but throw back the evil from whence it came. My favorite parts of the plot have to do with the gods. I won't say anything more than that. I enjoyed the plot, and found it a nice change of pace from most games (despite how it sounds, it's done very well).

The game plays out like a fairly standard RPG, at least until you get into a battle, when it becomes a tactical strategy game, similar to the original Langrisser (Warsong). You have a lot of characters to command (I forget the actual number, but it's more than in FFTactics), and you're going up against a large number of foes. Each army is placed on a flat grid. Your characters then get a certain number of moves, depending on the terrain, and their abilities, and then they attack. It's a great system to play around with, trying to pick off enemies, and not let their superior numbers overwhelm you. But there are just too many of these battles, and they're all the same. I just got tired of it, and wanted some variety.

The game graphics remind me of Breath of Fire 2 for some reason, but they're good graphics, and work well in the game. No complaints here.

The sounds and music are nice if not terribly memorable. No complaints here either.

So this game would get a much higher score (9) if not for a bit of tedium in the battles, other than that this is a great game, and one that no Genesis owner should be without.

I rated Shining Force II a 7 because it's a good game, with some small amount of problems.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 04/09/00, Updated 04/09/00

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